Updated 02/25/2009 03:36 PM
DEP Adds New Sludge Boat To Its Fleet
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The Department of Environmental Protection celebrated the arrival of its newest sludge boat Wednesday.
The $30 million boat, named Red Hook, is the latest addition to the marine fleet.
It will cart tons of sludge every day to waste water treatment plants. The plant on Wards Island processes about 200 million gallons a day of waste water; the sludge is the solid part of that waste.
"They are removing more of the solids from the water, we're returning cleaner water to the harbor, but producing more sludge, and that's a good news thing. But it also requires us to increase our capacity," said acting DEP Commissioner Steven Lawitts. "This one is higher capacity. It has a capacity for 150,000 cubic feet of sludge, so it's about 50 percent larger than previous boats."
The Red Hook was built over a period of three years by a manufacturing company in Texas.
"It's a state-of-the-art vessel," said sludge boat captain Chris Riel. "It's a thoroughly modern vessel. It's what the city needs.... She handles exceptionally well too - she has almost twice the horsepower of the other boats, and it's really a lot of fun to handle."
The boat includes state-of-the-art radar, a global positioning system and striking views of the city for Riel.
"You see the city as few people can, the view is tremendous. It's not just a corner office, I can see the whole city all the time," said Riel.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city officials have said they want 90 percent of the city's waters to be available for boating and fishing by 2030.